Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Note To Self: Cute Farm Animals

Filed under: Note To Self — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Next time I’m feeling down, I need to remember to watch these videos of cute farm animals.


Via: Cute Overload


Waiting for Trax

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 6:31 pm

I’m looking out the window at the Salt Lake City Library. It smells like freshly baked cookies. It smells really good, but it doesn’t make me feel hungry. I wonder why.

There is a man in a suit waiting for the Trax train. He’s looking west, so I’m guessing he’s heading east. He has a soft briefcase sitting next to him. His hair is cut short and every once in a while, he checks his watch. His forearms rest on his thighs and he almost looks as if he is praying. He doesn’t notice the people walking past him. He just sits waiting for the train.

Waiting for Trax from Flickr

Where is he going? It’s a little early for him to be heading home from work.

He’s sitting differently now and it looks like he is looking directly at me, through the window of the library right at me. Did he see me click a photo of him through the window? Did he see my face behind the glass watching him? I click another picture, brazenly lifting my camera to test a reaction, but he doesn’t move an inch. He doesn’t see me. He is looking at the architecture or a reflection on the glass. Maybe he is just staring off into space, seeing nothing, especially not me behind the screen.

Waiting for Trax from Flickr

One more minute creeps by and his train finally arrives. He stands up and disappears into the train going wherever he is going. That line heads up the the university and the hospital. Is he visiting a sick friend? Is he attending an afternoon class in the hopes of moving ahead in the business world? Is he beating the commuter rush and going home early? I’ll never know.

Waiting for Trax from Flickr

Part of me is sad about that because I’ll never find out the truth, but another part of me revels in it. The truth doesn’t matter and I can believe whatever I want about the man in the suit. A woman in a bright pink blazer has overtaken his vigil and I can think what I may about her as well.

Waiting for Trax from Flickr


Self-Imposed Internet Exile

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:22 am

Self Portrait 03-08-08 from FlickrI went on a self-imposed Internet exile last week. Okay, that’s a lie. I mostly stayed away from the Internet last week. After writing a backlog of entries for Starling Fitness, I gave myself permission to leave the computer alone. I gave myself permission to NOT work. I gave myself permission to even not read my email if I didn’t want to.

Of course, I read my email and dealt with comment spam every day, but because I didn’t feel like I had to be tied to the computer, I was able to enjoy my week. What did I do?

After such a refreshing week, I’ve had a VERY productive morning. With almost half of all the entries for next week already in the hopper, I’m considering doing this again next week.

Twitter Log: 2008-03-08

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • Back from Internet exile and ready to work! Yippee! #
  • Banging out Gadgets Page entries for next week. I’ll tackle Starling Fitness in a few. Productivity is easier when rested. #
  • I feel like all the SXSWi tweets should make me jealous, but I’m not. Strange… #
  • All my day’s work is done before 8am! Yeah! #
  • Utah Valley Geek Lunch 03-14-08 at Provo Bombay House http://voxpopdesign.com/wordpress/?p=121 #
  • Finished working for the day. Signing off the computer and getting ready for the rest of my day! #

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Thrift Store Finds

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Whenever I go thrift store shopping with Mike, it’s a rush job. The thick stench of dust makes him want to leave as soon as possible before an allergy attack sets off an asthma attack and it all spirals down from there. On my self-imposed Internet exile last week, I went thrift store shopping ALONE. I spent about four hours at my favorite DI and Thrift Town. I found many pairs of red shoes, a couple of books and some glasses that Arby’s gave out in the 1980’s. The same style that has become a family heirloom, I found for a buck a piece.

More importantly, I found lots of cool things that I didn’t want to buy. I snapped photos instead.

I found this crocheted set of characters from Winnie the Pooh both heartbreaking and heart-warming. Someone went to a lot of trouble to crochet these pristine and unloved stuff animals. I can tell they were unloved because they are so clean and beautiful. I imagined an excited grandma-to-be working steadily away at these stuffed animals. Why are they at the thrift store? Were they rejected by the mom? Were they too young for the barely teen grandchild who received them? Did the baby die? I can’t think of a happy story for these lovely and rejected stuffed animals.

Thrift Store Finds from Flickr

This blender, on the other hand, was WELL loved. Worn and still covered with bits of food, this blender was used at many cocktail parties by a handsome woman in a full skirt with crinoline. Only four dollars and perpetually stuck in the on position.

Thrift Store Finds from Flickr

I had to take the Barb-B-Table out of box to even understand what it was. Apparently, it’s a table tray that attaches to your barb-b-que. It was a sandy brown, the same color as the lettering on the box. It seems that the box was far more interesting to it’s previous owner than the table.

Thrift Store Finds from Flickr

I didn’t buy any of these items, despite their appeal. I have no children to love the stuffed animals. I have no use for a broken blender, despite its retro beauty. I certainly have no use for half a table. That didn’t stop me from wanting them, so I snapped photos so I can remember them forever.


Jane Goodall: Peace with Nature Lecture

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT,Living in Utah — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

<img src=”http://laura.moncur.org/wp-content/photos/JaneLauraMikeCorrected.jpg” width=”300″ height=”400alt=”Jane Goodall, Laura and Mike: 03-04-08″ title=”Jane Goodall, Laura and Mike: 03-04-08″ class=”imageframe” align=”right” />As part of my Internet Exile, I attended a lecture featuring Jane Goodall at Abravenal Hall last week. I really loved the lecture by her. She was entertaining. She told us four stories about chimpanzees. She then told us about all the ways she has been trying to help save not only “her” group of chimps, but the neighboring towns, and the world. Most importantly, she gave us REAL things that we could do to help her like volunteer for the local Roots and Shoots program, donate to the Jane Goodall Institute or just buy a stuffed monkey.

I would have enjoyed the whole evening a lot better if the University of Utah hadn’t struggled so hard to make her lecture an “event.” They spent over an hour showcasing the local musical talent of Red Rock Rondo and presenting Terry Tempest Williams. Each of these artists were good enough to hold their own two hour concert or lecture, but they were crammed before Jane Goodall’s speech with an audience itchy to see Jane.

Worse still, Robert Newman, the Dean of Humanities at the University of Utah, spent TWENTY minutes introducing her! We had all paid our money to see Jane Goodall. WE KNOW WHO SHE IS! We don’t need anyone to spend twenty minutes telling us all over again.

We bought our books and waited in line with our nephew. His mother was adamant that he get a chance to talk to her and pose for a picture, even though it was a school night. I glanced at my watch and it looked like we weren’t going to get out of there until almost midnight based on how long the line was and how quickly it was moving. Fortunately, Jane’s people came through the line and took us to the front so our nephew could get home and get to bed. You can’t imagine how grateful we were.

Despite the minor inconveniences, it was a wonderful night and I felt honored to be there.

Twitter Log: 2008-03-10

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • Good morning, all! Planning on a trip to Hogle Zoo if the sun is out today. If not, I guess I’ll find something else to do. #
  • Why are all the #sxsw tweets about being too hungover to enjoy SXSW? What is the matter with you kids? #
  • Utah Geeks: PodCampSLC is THIS Saturday! Get your cameras and recorders and come on down! It’s free! http://podcampslc.org #

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Video of Jane Goodall

Filed under: Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

As always, I tried to get some video of the Jane Goodall lecture I attended last week. It didn’t take long for the usher to stop me from filming. Since Jane had talked about how amazing technology is and we could be streaming this lecture across the world to China, it seems odd that she wouldn’t want more people to hear her plea, but I stopped filming. Here is the best few minutes of what I got.

Click Here To See The Video

Download this video for your iPod

I have more video, but she didn’t get to complete her next thought before the usher asked me to stop filming. It’s always easier to ask forgiveness than permission, so I didn’t mind the reprimand. I’m just glad that I got a minute or two of her amazing lecture to show the world.

I DO have a new quote to add to our Motivational Quotes Collection:

“I think the best evenings are when we have messages, things that make us think, but we can also laugh and enjoy each other’s company.”

  • Jane Goodall, Lecture in Salt Lake City, Utah, 03-04-08

I am so grateful I was able to attend this wonderful lecture and meet Jane Goodall in person!

Twitter Log: 2008-03-11

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • @MarinaMartin Spicy hot wings and blue cheese dressing. #

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Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Here is an amazing documentary about people who hoard.

POSSESSED from Martin Hampton on Vimeo

Like my grandfather’s house, you can barely walk through their homes. There is no room for another thing, their areas are so packed with items. They are in debt by the spending or spilling out of their one-bedroom flat with over 6000 books.

Just like how all my hobbies devolve into a spreadsheet, the first hoarder had a database for all of his books. How many ideas did I get for storage of books from that man? So many that I can feel the hoarder in me get a little excited.

The French woman’s voice could have been my grandfather’s voice if he were more self-aware.

“It’s very difficult to let go of things. They are like a time capsule. My stuff is sacred. It might be rubbish, but nobody is allowed to touch it. Unconsciously, I must need it somehow. I can’t get rid of it. It happened before that I managed to get rid of things, but then I have been fishing them out of the bin, you know, while everyone is asleep.”

When Stacey threw out his newspapers, he went out to the huge garbage can to retrieve them. I don’t know what he said to her that day. We still don’t talk about it much.

To see the dust flying at the last hoarder’s home with all his mail, magazines and random papers was enough to remind me of those horrible days right after his death. He had over fifty magazine subscriptions, some of them in languages that he couldn’t read. Every newspaper, every piece of mail and every television guide was important to him. Those stacks and stacks of paper were the result of SORTING. They were the things that he wanted.

The last hoarder said, “It would be nice to have gotten her clothes back.” He was talking about his mother. He had been grieving her and wished for something more for his already overfilled house. Just like my desire for The Ancient Ones or my childhood toys still left at my grandparents’ house, I saw myself in him.

Half of me is reviled and wants to get rid of all my stuff. The other half learned how to cram more books into my tiny home. Which road will I walk down? Do I even have a choice?

Via: Mind Hacks: Possessed

Read Braidwood’s most excellent post about hoarding as well:

Twitter Log: 2008-03-12

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • @NewspaperGrl There’s a geek lunch today? #
  • @NewspaperGrl Last I heard, that lunch is planned for Friday. #

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Note To Self: Make A Better Life with Ikea

Filed under: Note To Self — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Stolmen Bike RackIt looks like creativity knows no bounds when it comes to using the bits and pieces in the boxes of parts that Ikea gives you. Here are a couple of projects that looked particularly interesting.

I don’t really NEED a murphy bed or bike rack, but aren’t they the coolest projects?

I think I love Ikea because all of their items look like building blocks. They remind me of Lego blocks and how I put them together is my choice. Will I create what I’m “supposed” to create? Will I create something lame and rickety? Will I create something that the Gargonzola monster could withstand? It all depends on me!

Twitter Log: 2008-03-13

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • UT Geeks: Victor Villa set up the Geek Lunch tomorrow at a restaurant that is closed at lunchtime. You know Victor Villa’s email? DM me. #

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Twitter Log: 2008-03-14

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm

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Twitter Log: 2008-03-15

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • PodCampSLC is rocking! #
  • PodCampSLC You need an audio engineer who can manage your podcasts or need to learn how to do it yourself. #
  • Lunch at PodCampSLC with @ThomAllen @MazziottiOnline and @LaDanea #
  • Learning SO much about interviewing at #PodCampSLC #
  • Podcasts and RSS technicalities at #PodCampSLC #
  • @missbhavens I’m at PodCampSLC and it is making me want to film EVEN more! #

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Twitter Log: 2008-03-17

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • I had such a lazy day yesterday that I didn’t unpack my computer until this morning. #PodCampSLC was AWESOME! #
  • @Bonny Just wait until the 115 degree weather hits in the summer, though… #
  • @Jasonalba The # is a way of tagging like you would tag your photos in Flickr. #
  • @jerekeys Welcome to Twitter, buddy! You’re gonna fit right in with all of us! #
  • See all the PodCampSLC 2008 Photos here: http://tinyurl.com/2opz73 #
  • @jensimmons 1.76 megabits per second. I have no idea whether that’s good or bad. #
  • @libel_vox Wash bit the big one right after saying that, so I wouldn’t go repeating that phrase if I were you. #
  • @missbhavens Make sure you pay for COBRA then. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it to prevent a gap in coverage. #
  • @missbhavens COBRA is easy. All you have to do is fill out the forms and pay the money every month. You’ll have the same coverage as before. #

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Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 8:46 am

By the time I played on this rocketship at Southridge Park, the “authentic” U.S.A. markings and decor had all worn away and all that was left was the bare metal.

The Explorer from Plaid Stallions

I always imagined that playing on this to be much more fun than it actually was. I envisioned all of the kids on the rocketship pretending to be on the Starship Enterprise. I didn’t care that the ship didn’t look like the Enterprise. I imagined that I would be the captain and that I would have a good friend to be my Spock.

I NEVER had that experience.

Whenever I was taken to Southridge Park to play, the rocketship was full of unimaginative kids who just wanted to climb. They didn’t want to pretend to have adventures.

As an adult right now, I don’t know which is better: the kid who wants to pretend to have an adventure instead of enjoying the one she’s having or the kid who has no imagination.

Via: Explorer Rocket I Retro Playground Equipment I 1974 Catalog I Plaidstallions.com

Twitter Log: 2008-03-21

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • Coming down off a busy, busy day. Not even Nuar Nom Tok was able to make it come down easily. I guess I just need some sleep. #

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Twitter Log: 2008-03-22

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • CodeAway Today 12-5pm at Rocky Mtn Pizza #
  • @msjen Did you get my Black Phoebe photos from 29 Palms? #
  • At CodeAway trying to decide what kind of pizza to order for us all. #
  • @thomallen I LOVE the Star Trek Experience! Klingons or Borg? #

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Twitter Log: 2008-03-23

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • Awake when I shouldn’t be. I can feel the glands in my throat. They are hard little marbles warning me that I might be getting sick. #
  • Twitter Karma is MIA. I cleaned up my tweets on my own. I have realized that I can’t follow too many people without getting cranky. #

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Twitter Log: 2008-03-25

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm

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Twitter Log: 2008-03-26

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • Twitter IM is freakin’ broken! When is Twitter NOT broken? #
  • Long overdue entries for Starling Travel. I’m SO behind on everything I want to write. #

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Inside Out Envelopes

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 9:32 am

Inside Out Envelopes from Design*Sponge

I love the look of these security envelopes that have been turned inside out. Thrifty AND cool!

Here is Design*Sponge’s description

being small business owners, we get tons of bills, and over the years we’ve been collecting the ones with interesting security patterns printed on the insides. we’ve used them in various craft projects here and there, but one of our favorites requires practically no materials or skill and is a great way to whip up some unique and wonderful stationery.

I can’t wait for the mail to come today. Even the junk mail might be worth pillaging now!

Via: Craftzine.com blog: Inside Out Security Envelopes

Update 04-10-08: I actually tried this project after saving a bunch of my junk mail. It’s a lot harder to “Carefully de-construct your envelopes using your fingers, a letter opener or a blade, making sure not to rip the paper.” That one simple line makes the entire “project” a waste of time for me and I ended up throwing everything in the recycle bin.

Twitter Log: 2008-03-27

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • @justsomeguy Maybe it’s some mutant super power that you haven’t uncovered yet. #
  • @ThomAllen Were you surprised? Utah does this to us EVERY year! http://tinyurl.com/2qp5bq #
  • @Ladanea Try Anton Chekov. That might cheer ’em up… #
  • March Utah Geek/Blogger Dinner TONIGHT 6pm at Taj India: http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/451613/ #
  • @libel_vox Calm down there, cowboy. Jesse already admitted that he missed the stories because of RSS fast. #

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Live Earthquake Mashup

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Scott C. Lemon had heard from Tyler Whitaker about this cool Live Earthquake Mashup. Little did I know that I would want to use it a few days after hearing about it.

A couple of nights ago, I thought I felt an earthquake. The bed shook and the little door on my unused vanity rattled. I opened my eyes and looked at the time: 11:09 pm. The next time Mike came into the room, I mentioned that we had an earthquake and went back to sleep. The next morning, Mike told me that he couldn’t see any indication that we had experienced an earthquake.

Earthquake Map 03-27-08I was so sure of it, I went hunting back into Tyler Whitaker’s Twitter account just to find the link to that cool earthquake mashup thing.

Mike was right. Aside from the Nevada and Wyoming earthquakes from five days earlier, the only earthquake even near Utah was an Arizona quake at a measly 3.5 magnitude. There’s NO way I felt that one all the way in Salt Lake City.

Maybe the cat jumped off the bed.

Twitter Log: 2008-03-28

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • At the #geekdinner Taj India has the buffet up! #
  • @robertmerrill People are asking about you at the #geekdinner #
  • Leaving geek dinner #
  • My cleaning lady alternative personality has arrived. I’m trying not to scare her away, but I need to eat. #

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Tired and Peopled Out

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’m feeling tired and peopled out lately. It’s not like I have been more social. I haven’t been attending more events or having more people over. In fact, I’ve been cocooning more than anything, yet I feel peopled out. Despite my hours alone during the day, I feel like people should just leave me the heck alone.

Is it Twitter? Is it email? Is it the phone? I can’t say that those methods of communication are any more active than they were a couple of months ago.

I wish I could track this and control it, but right now, all I’m doing is managing it the best that I can.

Twitter Log: 2008-03-29

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm
  • Fighting with Adobe CS. It keeps crashing. Why did I pay so much money for this? #
  • @tomjohnson1492 It looks like our day today is going to be filled with updating WP as well. Gotta stop those hackers! #
  • @tomjohnson1492 Mike does all the updating, but we have several blogs to update, so it will take a while either way. #
  • @jensimmons Oh PLEASE Twitter the content theft session! Big problem and need new ideas! #

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Kearns High Nostalgia

Filed under: Kearns High School,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

A couple of people have found me because they were looking for old friends. They were looking for Sceverenia, found my blog and emailed me about her. That’s cool, I forwarded on the emails to her and she’s so nice that she responded to both of them.

Because of all this, I looked on Flickr to see what they had as far as pictures for Kearns High School. Here are some of my favorites:

Home Of The Cougars by williams.mark48 from Flickr

Home Of The Cougars by williams.mark48 from Flickr

Kearns High lockers by Hailey Baker from FlickrThat soaring cougar is just so 1976. I’m glad that it has survived as long as it has. I love the green and gold swoop under the cougar. Seeing this photo just filled me with all the old school pride.

Kearns High lockers by Hailey Baker from Flickr

Every year, I had a green locker. I never really envied the yellow lockers, but this photo looks so pretty I wish I could feel nostalgic about it. I still have vivid dreams about forgetting the location and what the combination of my locker is. Will it ever go away?

kearns high school crest by emmanuel trujillo from Flickr

kearns high school crest by emmanuel trujillo from Flickr

Don’t step on it or the Seniors with make you clean it with your tongue!

Whats up at Kearns High? Nothing. by erinb.tulips from Flickr

Whats up at Kearns High? Nothing. by erinb.tulips from Flickr

Past, present or future, it’s nice to know that those SAME desks are still there. Those were the perfect desks. I could lean my back over the edge of the chair and it would pop my shoulder right into place. It has taken me twenty years to find a replacement for those perfect desks.

landscapes/ back of kearns high by larissa L from Flickr

landscapes/ back of kearns high by larissa L from Flickr

This photo reminded me of a picture I took back in 1985 of the same part of Kearns High School. I took it with my beloved 110 camera that my grandma gave me when I was in fifth grade. I cleaned it up a little, but it looks pretty good.

Sunrise at Kearns 1985 by Laura Moncur from Flickr

Sunrise at Kearns 1985 by Laura Moncur from Flickr

Okay, I’m done with nostalgia for now. I think I should spend some time and get all my photos scanned. It would be nice to have them all there at my fingertips… err… hard drive.


The Ace Gutter Guy

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Sid was barking at the truck across the street. I opened the blinds and watched the workman measure out gutters while I let my fingers write.

The Ace Gutter Guy by Laura Moncur from Flickr

The Ace Gutter Guy by Laura Moncur from Flickr

A desk beside a window is a luxury that I must have to be able to write.

Twitter Log: 2008-03-31

Filed under: Twitter Log — @ 11:59 pm

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